Festival Frolics: Primavera Sound, Thursday.

Sponsors ranging from Wayfarers to Yank tastemakers Pitchfork, trendsetter headliners, lo-fi generators and indie idols abound, it doesn’t require an ounce of nuance to twig quite why Primavera Sound has come to be revered as something of an explosive edition of ATP-on-sea... Even if Butlins’ greatest British weekends already take place on the coast of the Blight, Minehead’s never been renowned for its sun, sea and sangria ethos. You’d probably require a day or two to seek out a dingy and decadent arcade here in Barcelona although if it’s sand between your toes and peeling skin on your shoulders you’re after, Primavera’s probably a dish best served piping hot.

Opting for the typically lethargic Spanish scheduling of Thursday to Saturday with Sunday held back as a winding down day of detoxification and Jeffrey Lewis, thermometers reach blood-boiling climes by the time a myriad of ironic t-shirts and somewhat unnerving shaven head stylings descend on Parc del Fòrum. Something perhaps Scot cult rockers Bis may not be all that well acclimatised nor accustomed to, although blurting out their Gaelic take on the goofball harmonies of The B-52s, a sizeable throng goes wild. In a restrained and impeccably mannered line, of course... Florida quintet Surfer Blood, washed up in Cataluña on the crests and breaking waves of a seemingly ceaseless stream of critical acclaim, Harmonix sounds vaguely desolate amidst the dense concerte of the Pitchfork Stage. Whilst showmanship may not top the practically prepubescent punks’ priority list, Take It Easy sounds as razor-sharp and raw-blooded as debut LP Astrocoast, were its entrails flopping out of a shark wound. Swim prompts a sing-along, well, at least vague mumbling from the bespectacled gaggle of chinstrokers congregated before their insatiably accessible hook-laden guitar simplicities, and Twin Peaks, “the Poker Face of Astrocoast” concludes proceedings in as raucous a climax as a mildly sedated Iggy crooning out Preliminaires could ever hope and gyrate to achieve.

Over on the amphitheatrically arranged Ray-Ban Stage, The xx herald in the first steps of their estival victory meander through Europe, America and consequentially the universe. More minimalistic than ever before, and at least 33.333% more musically accomplished as a reinvigorated trio, Romy occasionally, very occasionally, even cracks a smile that beams across her jovial facial features like an eggshell cracked meticulously in two entirely equal halves. As the intro to their eponymous debut LP swathes out from their swaying, vacant silhouettes, the silent shudder of jaws crashing to the concrete below can probably be sensed over in Valencia, with Crystallised howling vociferously at the top of its subdued and shying nicotine-stained lungs. Shelter morphs inexplicably, yet quite incandescently into ATB’s 9PM as Gibson Les Paul strings bend elastically and, shock horror, devastatingly effectively. Despite Teardrops having dried up, Romy and Oliver have matured into the sumptuously awkward fronting duo they never so much as threatened to become, whilst Jamie, the newly appointed master of ceremonies, simultaneously plods away on synths, bashes drum pads and smashes seven shades of shit out of a solitary cymbal, whilst appearing not to really be doing anything at all. Quite magnificent.

There was an era, not all too distant, when Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell’s The Big Pink were kicking dirt and bashing samples into synths in the same playground as South London’s only self-proclaimed “superstars” The xx. Emerging amidst the smoggy fog and siren squeals they’ve swaggered on stage with for more moons than a Twilight saga, the duo, bolstered by Comanechi screecher Akiko Matsuura fresh from obliterating the hundred-odd beat seekers fortunate enough to squeeze into their intimate trash fest just minutes earlier, are a little stuck in the mud. Velvet’s as gorgeous as the slinkiest of silk, as heartfelt as She & Him serenades yet the inanity of Tonight and the NME squelch of Dominos reverberate murkily around the hangar designated this weekend to Pitchfork. And a Pitchfork may well be just what the pair will be stretching for are they to sink further into their bleary mire of regression.

Stephen Malkmus’ recently reformed Pavement, tonight’s headliners chime out a treadmill set as enthusiastically as Noel Edmonds peels off sticky tape and opens red boxes, and opener Cut Your Hair sounds genuinely enthralling, its loopy ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oohing recalling all that was thoroughly great last millennium, evaporating thoughts of Hanson and Smash Hits. Yet the vast majority of their show, performed under enchanting, dimming exposed light bulbs that dangle overhead like lurking fireflies, for prime purveyors of lo-fi genre alignment, is all a little too pedestrian and ultimately, overworked at times sounding akin to Mike Hedges reworking Hole’s Malibu with dollar signs glinting in vacant eyeballs, Shady Lane sounding as polished as Liverpool Street leathers. And so it’s out with the old and in with the new; hyped to infinity and beyond, New York’s Sleigh Bells are a contemporarily revolutionary and repulsive prospect, as their musical output flickers from Brody Dalle aggravatingly bursting belt buckles to MIA whipping up a frenzy in an American Apparel rummage sale whilst shrieking incoherencies over semi-visceral Gibson SG stabs. Ring, Ring, an unprecedented encore is played out solo by Alexis Krauss over a backing track, capping off a bizarrely captivating, yet ultimately vacuous blip on the Pitchfork radar.

Apparently Bristol now represents Great Britain’s greatest musical city, presumably for creating, cultivating and maintaining a genre all of its own. Geoff Barrow’s Beak> also feature amongst this year’s Primavera rundown, but it’s Fisher-Price ravagers and pseudo-ravers Fuck Buttons that’ve hailed over their fair share of limelight to drench their gargantuan disco ball. God only knows how they got it over to Spanish shores but it’s their glitchy minimal majesty that truly glimmers tonight, as melancholy drips from every immaculately manipulated key. Almost transcending songs, the Bristol duo’s pieces of layered hysteria emerge and subside like the evolution and subsequent extinction of the most endangered of species, Bright Tomorrow’s quivering, disjointed synths concisely demonstrating just that. Surf Solar reeks of a bleary-eyed, borderline incoherent euphoria that builds and builds, before recoiling into the wails of a vast audience wallowing in exhaustion, confusion and ultimately, brilliance.